A National Weather Service flood warning for low-lying areas of the Okanogan River remains in effect until further notice
May 14, 2014- News Briefs
May 11, 2014- News Briefs
The state Liquor Control Board has tentatively approved an Okanogan, Omak and two Winthrop businesses to receive retail marijuana licenses.
May 7, 2014- News Briefs
Police investigate unattended death OMAK — An unattended death at Shove House is being investigated by the Omak Police Department. The Omak Police Department is investigating the April 19 death of Tanya Hayner, 25, at the residential drug treatment facility. She “most likely” died of a drug overdose, Detective Rusty Tallant said. Clients of the facility, 1007 Koala Drive, apparently are free to come and go, he said, adding that the facility is not under investigation. Hayner apparently had left the facility within the 24 hours before her death, Tallant said. Skip Rosenthal, CEO of Okanogan Behavioral HealthCare, which oversees Shove House, could not be reached for comment. Hayner, the daughter of John and Laura Hayner of Okanogan, was a 2007 graduate of Okanogan High School. She was an orthopedic coordinator at Caribou Trail Orthopedics and a barista. A memorial service was Saturday at Dawson Gym in Okanogan. ----- Highway clearing remains on track MAZAMA – The state Department of Transportation is on track to re-open North Cascades Highway in mid-May, but spokesman Jeff Adamson said an exact date has yet to be pinpointed. About three to four inches of snow fell last Thursday, triggering some slides from avalanche chutes from Cutthroat to Washington Pass, Adamson said. More snow was forecast for Friday afternoon and throughout the night. By the end of last week, the highway on the east side of the pass was cleared through Liberty Bell avalanche chute No. 3, around milepost 163. The crew made some headway from there up through the Blue Lake Trailhead, 161.5. On the west side, the highway has been cleared up to milepost 156 near Rainy Pass, where snow is still about five feet deep, Adamson said. ----- Woman sentenced in dog rescue case OKANOGAN – A Carlton woman was sentenced to community service and must pay a fine for obstructing a law enforcement officer when she took a dog she believed to be mistreated in December. Judy Brezina Camp was ordered in Okanogan County Superior Court on April 11 to perform 100 hours of community service and pay a $768 fine. Camp was found not guilty in a jury trial last month of stealing a pet and making false or misleading statements to a public servant. Camp admitted to taking the dog, a 7-year-old blue heeler named Tank, on a cold December night from a junkyard near Twisp. She said his water bowl was frozen and didn’t think he had adequate shelter. The dog was owned by the Magruder family of Carlton, and the family pressed charges upon finding the dog was missing. She bought Tank from the family the day she was arrested. ----- Overturned crane snarls traffic BREWSTER – Traffic was restricted for about three hours last Thursday morning when a crane overturned on U.S. Highway 97 two miles north of town. The driver of the crane, owned by Gebbers Farms, was not injured, Washington State Patrol Trooper Darren Wright said. According to an incident report, the driver was over on the shoulder slightly at milepost 262 when the crane dipped into a soft spot. The driver overcorrected and the crane overturned, Wright said. The crash, reported shortly after 8:30 a.m., blocked the southbound lane. The highway was cleared by 11:25 a.m. ----- Hospital committee to meet today OKANOGAN – The first hospital committee meeting is scheduled for 3-5 p.m. today at the Grainger Administration Building, 123 N. Fifth Ave. The committee is comprised of officials from Mid-Valley Hospital in Omak, Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster and North Valley Hospital in Tonasket; as well as other area health care professionals and Okanogan County Commissioner Sheilah Kennedy. Agenda items include identifying objectives, setting meeting dates and gathering members’ contact information. Members have been asked to bring any studies that might exist concerning hospital consolidation.
Farmers market to open OKANOGAN — The Okanogan Valley Farmers Market opens for the season Saturday morning. Market hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays in Legion Park on North Second Avenue. Opening day will feature live music, an espresso stand and a variety of plant starts, baked goods and crafts, spokesman Rick DeLap said. Some early greens also might be offered. Parking is available at the north end next to the Okanogan Fire Hall Museum, 1410 N. Second Ave., at the south next to the Okanogan Legion Hall, 860 N. Second Ave., and across the street at the Okanogan County Public Utility District headquarters, 1331 N. Second Ave. The Okanogan Valley Farmers Market site in Omak’s Civic League Park will open in June. The Methow Valley Farmers Market is open from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays at the Methow Valley Community Center, 201 Methow St., Twisp. ----- Alliance surveys businesses OMAK — The Economic Alliance is surveying small businesses in Okanogan County. Along with basic information about business size, type and ownership, the survey asks questions about employee retention, access to financing, government permitting and regulations, shoplifting and theft, worker skills, wage and benefit costs, market change, business planning, advertising, interest in business seminars and other topics. During last Wednesday’s meeting, the group heard about business financing from Umpqua Bank’s Brewster Manager Coleen Couch and North Cascades Bank Okanogan Vice President and Loan Officer Jeff Brender. The alliance will give a June presentation to the county about the .09 infrastructure fund. The board’s next meeting, set for May 28, will include a presentation about Kinross Gold. ----- Chamber elects officers BRIDGEPORT – Officers have been elected to serve on the newly revived Bridgeport Area Chamber of Commerce. Mario Martinez is president, Hugo Martinez is vice-president, Marilynn Lynn is treasurer and Amparito Martinez is secretary. Scott Wright and Ron Lewis are at-large board members. As of last week, the chamber had about a dozen members, Lynn said. Glacier reports record income KALISPELL, Mont. – Glacier Bancorp, parent company of North Cascades Bank, has announced an all-time record net income of $26.7 million for the current quarter. That’s an increase of 29 percent from the prior year’s first quarter. North Cascades Bank has branches in Brewster, Grand Coulee, Okanogan, Omak and Twisp.
McMorris Rodgers named Legislator of the Year by National Hydropower Assocation
Three Rivers board discusses CEO pact BREWSTER – Three Rivers Hospital commissioners plan to discuss a draft contract with their top choice for CEO, J. Scott Graham, during their regular monthly meeting Monday. Citing “retaliatory conduct” from Coulee Medical Center board members and physicians, Graham resigned as CEO of that facility on April 10 and indicated he plans to sue the facility. Other agenda items include a transition contract for Graham; a public hearing on the amended 2014 final budget; review of the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and obstetrics departments, and the sale of Advantage Durable Medical Equipment. The meeting will be at 4 p.m. at the Hillcrest Administration Building, 415 Hospital Way. ----- Brewster begins spring cleanup week BREWSTER – The city has announced a spring cleanup week, starting tomorrow. Crews will pick up yard debris left in the alleys – meaning only grass clippings, limbs, leaves, dead plants and short boards without nails. Debris should not be bagged; piles will be inspected for unwanted materials. The city will use a front-end loader to pick up the debris, so piles should be placed away from walls, fences and wires. ----- Pateros board meets in Methow PATEROS – The Pateros School Board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at the Methow Community Center, located in the old schoolhouse off state Highway 153. The board plans second readings and possible adoption of several policies, and will consider a language arts curriculum for the elementary school and renewing Superintendent Lois Davies’ contract, among other topics. ----- Brewster board considers board vacancy BREWSTER – The Brewster School Board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the high school library, 503 S. Seventh St. Agenda items include appointing a new board member and proposed action on a sixth-grade trip to Conconully camp.
Fiber-optic outage planned for early Friday morning
Bridgeport council meets BRIDGEPORT – The City Council will meet at 7 p.m. today at City Hall, 1206 Columbia Ave. According to a tentative agenda, the council will consider approving rates for the community swimming pool at Berryman Park as well as a contract with Armada Corp. for utility collections services. ----- Commissioners go to Pend Oreille OKANOGAN – Okanogan County commissioners plan to attend a Quad County Commission meeting at 10 a.m. Friday at the Pend Oreille County Courthouse, 625 W. Fourth St., Newport. ----- Weed board to meet tomorrow OKANOGAN – The Okanogan County Noxious Weed Board will meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Grainger Administration Building, 123 N. Fifth Ave. ----- Area drug ‘take back’ events planned OMAK — Several area police agencies are participating in a prescription drug “take back” event Saturday. The Omak, Oroville and Twisp police departments and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration are giving the public an opportunity to rid their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. Since 2010, 339 pounds of unused or expired medications have been collected in Okanogan County at take-back events and sites. Saturday’s take-back events are anonymous. Vitamins, prescription drugs, inhalers, patches, over-the-counter medications, and medicated ointments or lotions can be dropped at the Omak Police Department, 8 N. Ash St.; Oroville Police Department, 1304 Ironwood St., and Twisp Police Department, 118 S. Glover St. ----- Power outage planned for Tonasket TONASKET – A six-hour power outage is scheduled for Friday morning so Okanogan County Public Utility District crews can perform maintenance on optical fiber infrastructure. “During this time period, all traffic to Tonasket Nortons Knob, AP30035 (Double AP Wi-Fi site just north of Tonasket), and AP30036 (near Tonasket Airport), and fiber connectivity to Ellisforde Pickens Mountain will be interrupted,” the utility website said. The work is planned to last about three hours, but the outage will be from 12:01 a.m. to about 6 a.m. to deal with any unexpected issues. Another outage is planned for May 2 in Okanogan. ------ Tribe gets Reclamation security job GRAND COULEE — The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a $697,000 contract to the Colville Confederated Tribes for security and law enforcement services at Grand Coulee Dam. The tribe will provide services on Reclamation lands and facilities on the east side of the Columbia River, including the Third Powerplant, Downriver Trail and dam tour building. Services began April 1. The contract allows the tribe to assist Reclamation’s Security Response Force in emergencies and complements an existing law enforcement contract Reclamation has with the city of Grand Coulee, the Bureau said. ----- Board seeks input on school buildings TONASKET – The Tonasket School Board is seeking comments on how to proceed with a proposal to add space to all three of the district’s school buildings. In February, voters defeated a $6 million bond issue request to pay for additions to the elementary, middle and high schools, replace the alternative/outreach school building and make improvements to the sports complex. The measure needed a 60 percent yes vote, but garnered 54.4 percent. The board has not taken action to run another request in August, Superintendent Paul Turner said. ----- Trail ribbon-cutting ceremony on tap CURLEW — A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for 1 p.m. Saturday at the east end of the Curlew Lake trestle on the Ferry County Rail Trail. The ceremony marks completion of a trestle decking project. Ferry County Rail Trail Partners and the Ferry County Rail Corridor Committee announced the opening. “This project represents the culmination of several years of planning and effort by local, state and federal agencies and volunteers who are working together to improve the Ferry County Rail Trail,” the groups said. ----- Brewster police seek grant for new car BREWSTER – The Brewster Police Department has applied for $35,000 in federal funding, a grant and loan combination, to purchase another patrol vehicle. “This is nothing more than a plain state bid patrol vehicle without any ‘bells and whistles,’ Chief Ron Oules said. “Patrol vehicles cost that much or more to have them fully outfitted and operational. If we did not get a state bid price for the vehicle the cost would be substantially more.” He said the city hasn’t heard yet if the funding has been awarded. If it is, the city will purchase a full-size, four-door vehicle. Oules said the cheapest option is a Dodge Charger. ----- Prescribed burn to begin at Fawn Creek WINTHROP – The Methow Valley Ranger District planned to start spring prescribed burning Tuesday on 20 acres along West Fawn Creek Road. The burning treatment would last one day, according to Assistant Fire Management Officer Meg Trebon. The area had been slated for treatment last week, but plans were canceled due to unfavorable weather conditions. Other areas earmarked for treatments this spring include northwest of town near Eightmile Creek; west of Twisp near Little Bridge Creek; and west of Methow in the McFarland Creek and Squaw Creek drainages. Tonasket Ranger District has also planned prescribed burning treatments in the Mount Annie and the Lyman Lake areas, both southeast of Tonasket, as well as the Mutton area north of Conconully and the North Flank area near Havillah. ----- Conservation easement party planned RIVERSIDE – A celebration of the Scanlon Lake conservation easement is planned for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 4. The property is in the Lime Belt area. The Okanogan Land Trust event features tours of the property from 10 a.m. to noon, a lunch from noon to 1 p.m., a presentation from 12:30-1 p.m. and more tours from 1-3 p.m. The property is owned by Phil Bennett. ----- Omak man arrested for sex with teen NESPELEM – An Omak man was arrested by the Colville Tribal Police Department Thursday on suspicion of rape. Franklin G Lambert, 42, is alleged to have been in a consensual sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl, tribal police Cmdr. Tom Holsworth said. “The case is under further investigation and will be forwarded to the FBI for their review,” he said. “Lambert could face federal charges for statutory rape as well.” ----- Snow-clearing proceeds on highway MAZAMA – At the end of last week, state Department of Transportation crews had cleared snow from North Cascades Highway past the first three avalanche chutes on Liberty Bell Mountain. By Friday crews reached milepost 163, about a half-mile below Washington Pass, according to the Department of Transportation. On the westside, snow-clearing crews reached milepost 154 about three miles from Rainy Pass. The highway is still slated for a mid-May opening. ------ Area man arrested in arson case NESPELEM – A man from the Coulee Dam-Nespelem area has been arrested for arson and attempted homicide. Mylan Williams, 35, was arrested by the Colville Tribal Police Department on April 11. He is suspected of setting fire to a house at 1131 Tilmus St., Coulee Dam, on Aug. 1, 2013, while the house was occupied, Cmdr. Tom Holsworth said. The occupant escaped unharmed.
The Oroville Chamber of Commerce has started a new account to receive funds donated for a designated community in need, with Oso selected as the first recipient.
Unfavorable weather conditions have postponed spring prescribed burning today in the Methow Valley Ranger District. The district had planned to do some under-burning on about 20 acres in the Fawn Creek area about 10 miles west of town.
Hospital committee plans first meeting OKANOGAN – The first joint hospital committee meeting is scheduled for 3-5 p.m. April 30 in the Okanogan County commissioners’ hearing room at the Grainger administration building, 123 N. Fifth Ave.
Brush fire intentionally started to burn weeds at entrance to Riverside